When literary reprobate Foster James wakes up in a strange country house, he assumes he's been consigned to rehab (yet again) by his dwindling band of friends and growing collection of ex-wives.
But he soon realises there's something a bit different about this place after he gets punched in the face by Ernest Hemingway.
Is Foster dead? Has his less-than-saintly existence finally caught up with him? After an acrimonious group therapy session with Hunter S Thompson, Colette, William Burroughs, and Coleridge, it seems pretty likely. But he still feels alive, especially after an up-close and personal one-on-one session with Dorothy Parker.
When he discovers that the two enigmatic doctors who run the institution are being torn apart by a thwarted love affair, he and the other writers must work together to save something that, for once, is bigger than their own gigantic egos.
This is a love story. It's for anyone who loves writing and writers. It's also a story about the strange and terrible love affair between creativity and addiction, told by a charming, selfish bastard who finally confronts his demons in a place that's part Priory, part Purgatory, and where the wildest fiction can tell the soberest truth.
Jessica Jones had a complicated life – booze, cocaine, bad boyfriends, a rollercoaster ride of what self-help writers call 'opportunities for growth' – but she got away from all that. She rebuilt her career, became prosperous and, at last, found happiness in a wonderful new relationship.
Just when things were almost perfect, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. So Jessica did what she’s always done: she got through it. With the help of doctors, nurses, friends, family and the ever-supportive Nick, she not only got through it, but survived with her trademark good humour and style. After seven months of gruelling treatments, she travelled from London to Sydney to begin a three-month holiday of a lifetime with the man who had loved her through it all – only to discover that he had been seeing someone else and didn't love her at all. For Jessica, it was to turn out that surviving love was harder than surviving cancer.
The Elegant Art of Falling Apart is a book about learning to ask for and to accept help. About living in, and enjoying, every moment. About freeing yourself from our culture’s obsession with romantic love, and about how looking good really can help you feel good. Above all, it is about how, when you are staggering about in the darkness, it will be the power of friendship that saves your sanity.